As we inch closer and closer to the El Clasico which is clearly the biggest football night in the world. Barcelona host Real Madrid at Nou Camp for the 13th game of the season. Single point separates the two sides with Real top on 32 points and Barcelona on 31 points. You might have read many previews already (you can read one more here , in case you haven’t) and here are 5 things you should expect to hear a lot of when the game begins :
1. Messi v Ronaldo : I know both are exceptional players and take the game to a whole new level. I know their personal accolades and their ability to change the game in one go. But this game is not about two individuals and their personal brilliance (however it may decide the fate of the game) but about the collective efforts by both teams. Each and every player would have a role to play so having the game down to two players would be incorrect in my opinion.
2. Media bias towards Barcelona – Agree or not, but we draw the most criticism from the media. Its not just bound to Barcelona based dailies or Catalan media but pretty much every football source possible. For us in the Asian subcontinent get commentary from British channels and their bias is just ridiculous at times. It would be difficult to confine their statements of comparison to Barcelona in this post but am pretty sure all Madridistas and rational football fans would agree.
3. Guardiola v Mourinho : Now this personal duel will make a world of difference. Both teams are managed by two very smart managers who know how to get the best out of the players they have at their disposal. Guardiola has been in-charge at Barcelona for quite some time and knows how he wants the team to play inside out. They most definitely play beautiful football which is where we would have our task cut out. Former Barcelona translator, Mourinho is known for his tactics be it at Porto, Chelsea or Inter Milan. Mourinho has never lost at Nou Camp and his tactics to handle Barcelona at Nou Camp with Inter Milan were simply superb. Expecting the same tactics tonight would be a mistake but expecting him to change too much would be wrong as well.
4. Loads of playacting! – As with each high profile game and game of such stature comes the theatrics and play acting which quite unfortunately has become part of the game. Be it Ronaldo diving to get penalties or the Busquets incident in last season’s Champions League to get Thiago Motta sent off , the game has been plagued with cheating and dirty football to get the upper hand. To over come this, the referee needs to be absolutely sure and not be phased by the Catalan crowd.
5. A lot of work for Iker – Barcelona’s attacking rate and off the ball movement is exemplary which no one can deny. Xavi, Iniesta, Messi and Villa are all superb players and managing their runs and play would be a difficult task for our defenders. Iker at the end would have a lot of work to make sure we stay in contention during the game.
I hope its a great game and we emerge victorious! HALA MADRID!